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What to do when you decide to move in with your boyfriend and have a condo wish list the length of your arm? If you're Whitney Pizale, owner of W Events, and fiancé Ryan Dzierniejko, you scoop up a space in Imperial Lofts at Adelaide and Sherbourne and start from scratch.
Pizale and Dzierniejko gutted the entire unit except for the kitchen and built their dream home. They put in new hardwood floors, added reclaimed brick to enhance the "loft" feel, turned the storage room into a powder room with a hidden closet for laundry and expanded the master bedroom to double its size so they could fit in a bathtub and glass rain shower.
"We were able to design the layout exactly how we wanted it," says Pizale. "Kids weren't on the horizon for us, so we scrapped the second bedroom in favour of a custom-designed 200-square-foot walk-in closet."
What they ended up with is a chic modern space with great art pieces the two have collected over the years.
Original condo budget $500,000-$800,000
Unit price $460,000 in 2009, plus $65,000 for renovations
Wish list To be within walking distance of the financial district (where Dzierniejko works), an open-concept unit with a great entertaining space, exposed brick and two washrooms. "Our space only had one washroom and no exposed brick when we bought it, but we wrote a condition into the purchase agreement stating that we'd accept the deal subject to the condo board's approval of our renovations."
Number of properties seen Fewer than 10. "We had a great real estate agent (Scott Shallow of Brad Lamb Realty) who was intimately familiar with the downtown condo/loft market. We told him our wish list, and he gave us a list of buildings that fit our criteria."
What they got A 1,425-square-foot, two-bedroom loft (although the second bedroom is now a closet).
What they say about the neighbourhood "We love our neighbourhood! When we first bought, the area was pretty quiet. It's really changing with all the new condos going up. I also love being able to walk to the St. Lawrence Market."